Donald Kim, 71, was discovered missing from his Hayward care home early Tuesday morning, officials said.
Donald Kim, 71, was discovered missing from his Hayward care home early Tuesday morning, officials said. (Alameda County Sheriff's Department)

HAYWARD -- An elderly dementia patient was found safe at a Hayward elementary school Tuesday afternoon, more than eight hours after he was found to be missing from his care home by employees who arrived to serve him breakfast that morning.

Donald Kim, 71, was found about 3 p.m. at Burbank Elementary School at 222 Burbank Street, about 2 miles from his residence at Colonial Acres Care Home at 18905 Standish Ave., Lt. Emmanuel Christy said. The appearance of the elderly dementia patient, who had been missing for at least eight hours when he walked into the school's front office, prompted school employees to contact Hayward police.

"He has dementia so they probably figured out something was wrong right away," Christy said. "An alert was sent out countywide, so they may have been aware he was missing already."

Authorities arrived at the school and picked up the disoriented man, who had been walking for hours, but was in good health.

Employees at the home last saw Kim during a routine bed count about 11 p.m. Monday, Christy said. When they circled back to serve his breakfast the next morning, they found the man missing from his room.

"He's done this before, and he was found in a residential area a couple miles from his care facility," said Christy, who added that he was quickly found the last time he disappeared. "I'm not sure what time he left after they last saw him in his bed, but they didn't report it until this morning."

Authorities still don't know if Kim was wandering around during the night, noting that he could have gone missing as early as 11 p.m. Monday and as late as 7 a.m. Tuesday. Kim has dementia and behavioral disturbances and takes medication for high blood pressure, which led officials to consider him an "at-risk" case.

Kim is not from Hayward, and is unfamiliar with his surroundings, Christy said. The school where Kim was found was a straight shot from his care home, but there is a possibility that he may have wandered side streets during the hours he was missing.

Contact Erin Ivie at eivie@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow her at Twitter.com/erin_ivie.